I visually grade all vinyl, and play grade most. Vinyl could visually grade at one level, and play grade at another, perhaps better level, as I deep clean nearly all vinyl. For example, a 45 graded at VG, could actually play NM! Vinyl grading in the ads and below does not include labels, as I use the vinyl itself as the primary source of the grading. Label issues, such as stickers, writing, wear, etc. will be noted in the ad. Picture and company sleeve grading will be shown separate from vinyl and play grading.
For example: a 45 could look VG+, play NM, and have a VG picture sleeve.
Here are the grading levels used:
M - Mint: I rarely use this grading, unless I am absolutely sure that the item has not be played (New Old Stock, Sealed, etc.).
NM - Near Mint: Few if any scuffs (light, small). Looks and plays great, noise free. For covers, picture sleeves and vinyl this means nearly perfect, usually the vinyl is scuff and scratch free.
EX – Excellent: For vinyl, a very few light scuffs, or a very light surface scratch, should not affect play. I don't use this grading for play grading. For picture or company sleeves, maybe a bent corner, slight ring or edge wear, usually just one or two small flaws. No cover wear, large writing, tape, or seam splits.
VG+- Very Good Plus: For vinyl, a few more light scuffs or surface scratches might be present, and upon playing, a few pop or clicks may be heard. For covers and picture sleeves: bent corner, light ring/edge or cover wear, small writing, stickers may be present, but only 2 or 3 of these flaws. Still, no seam splitting.
VG - Very Good: For vinyl, shows definite play wear, more surface scratches and a few deeper scratches may be found. When playing, background noise will be noticed. Sometimes records with little or no scratches but with groove wear will fall into this category, and causes some light treble distortion. This would be noted in description. For covers,or picture sleeves, more pronounced wear than VG+ with the possibility of seam splitting and tape.
VG- - Very Good Minus, and G+ - Good Plus: Not up to VG standards. For vinyl, more groove wear, scratches and scuffs. However, may play grade at a higher level as a result of deep cleaning. They will play usually with more noticeable background noise. No skips (unless very rare item, or, perhaps a selection on a multi-track EP). For pic sleeves, they will have heavy ring, edge and cover wear, large seam splits, stickers, etc.